Friday, April 28, 2017

Why the Westin Cincinnati is likely the very worst Westin in the country.

How do we count the ways in which the Westin Cincinnati is a very, very bad hotel?

First, the good news:  friendly staff and great location.  That, however, is the only good news.

1.  Let's start with safety.  There should be at least one telephone in the room that works.  It would be nice if it's by the bed, but let's not quibble.  The phone should work.  Mine didn't when I arrived, so I used my cell phone to call the front desk.  After a four-minute wait, a staffer said that she'd send someone up to fix the phone.  The person who came up was quite nice.  I now have a phone that doesn't make odd sounds.  It does connect to humans.  But the volume can't be adjusted, so the humans sound as though they're on a different continent.  One expects working phones in a hotel, especially at a solid chain like Westin.

2.  It takes a very, very long time to reach anyone on the staff.  It's about a 5-minute average, no matter what time of day I call.

3.  Room service is delicious, and it should be, given the extraordinarily high prices of any off-the-menu things like a side of fruit.  That side of fruit, at $14 for a bowl, was mighty tasty, except for the bad taste in my mouth that the overcharging created.

4.  And the winner for why staying at this hotel is never, ever going to be worth it:  there were a lot of us milling around in the lobby last night, because none of the elevators worked.  That makes it difficult for guests to get to their rooms.  I understand the importance of staff members staying calm in the face of angry guests, and they were calm--and as I'd mentioned before, very friendly.  What they weren't doing was getting repair people out to fix the elevators.  After hearing again and again that the repair people were coming (and I'll find out later today if they came, of course), I climbed the 12 flights up to my room.  In the dark.  In a back stairwell.  It's a good thing that I always carry a flashlight.

Here's the thing:  Westin says that it cares about customer service, and I've been assured repeatedly that management will do something to make amends for its many failures during this stay.  I'm still waiting.

This is a very, very bad hotel.  Not as bad as this other hotel, maybe, but bad nonetheless.  There are so many great hotels within a block of this one that I can honestly stay that staying anywhere else within this block would be better than staying here.  If Westin cares about its brand as much as I hope that it does, then it should figure out how to fix the many things that go wrong.

Oh, and by the way, when the front desk calls (on that sounds-like-long-distance phone) and says that a manager will call me at 7 a.m., it's probably a good idea to call me then.  Otherwise, this happens.

P.S.  It was lovely to see a treadmill in my room.  It really was.  But there is no way to get the plug out so that the treadmill has electricity.

UPDATE:  The manager called me at 7:40 a.m.   He was very nice, and he addressed my concerns.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Predicted this in 2012.

The story on Whittier in the NYT is here.

As I said in 2012, "[t]he world doesn’t need as many ABA-accredited law schools as it has already, just as the world has figured out that it doesn’t need as many U.S.-based BigLaw firms as it once did, and I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if some law schools closed over the next decade or so."  Nancy B. Rapoport, Changing the Modal Law School: Rethinking U.S. Legal Education in (Most) Schools, 116 Penn. St. L. Rev. 1119 (2012).

Saturday, March 18, 2017

Well, Jeff now gets to use a Satan emoji to describe me.

Here's why:

I was at the Burbank airport earlier this week, returning my rental car, and I heard a running sound.  The next thing I knew, a man (whose weight I've estimated at over 200 lbs--he was a big guy) had tripped, fallen into me, and caused me to drop my phone.

Let's just say that I used most of the words that Jeff has taught me over the years.  Yes, I cussed him out.

Then he got angry at me, because I wasn't sympathetic to his plight.  I wasn't as concerned that a big man had run toward me, tripped, and fell on me as I was that he could have hurt me.  Heck, he had scared me, and my first instinct was to defend myself.  I'm 5'2.5" (yes, that half inch counts), and he was a six-footer.  Here's a hint, folks:  you fall on me, and my first reaction will be self-defense.  So I yelled at him some more.

He got up, complained to everyone that I wasn't very nice because I wasn't concerned about him or his problems, and then followed me to the terminal, referring to me as "Satan."  I finally said, "Look--I'm sorry you ran and fell, but you're over six feet, and I'm 5'2" (I left out the half-inch), so how do you think I felt when you fell on me?"

He kept muttering.  So I think I'm still Satan, at least to him.  And now Jeff gets to use this emoji when texting me:

But why stop there?  He could use this one:





Or this one:


And I can't get this earworm out of my head:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=62Qfbrc1jdo.

Sunday, March 05, 2017

How NOT to collect a legal bill.

We used a friend of ours, Mike Cenatiempo, to update our wills.  Mike used to work at Shannon Gracey, which is now defunct.  We paid our bill in December 2016.  We got a "past due" notice from the defunct Shannon Gracey law firm yesterday.  So....
Dear Shannon Gracey Collections Office:

The best way to ask a client about a past-due bill is NOT to start with a past-due notice.  The best way is to ask, "hey, we can't seem to find your check--was it ever cashed?"  That's especially true when the law firm has cratered.  After all, dying law firms often have problems with their business operations, which can involve losing checks while closing a practice.
So now I'm an irate former client who has no intention of losing a pristine credit rating.  I tried to find former Shannon Gracey managing partner Richard A. Lowe to complain, but the My Texas Bar site is down.  Let's see what happens when the collections person gets our letter, showing a copy of the check. 


Tuesday, January 03, 2017

I have managed to alienate Blogger.

After I got hacked, I tried to change my administrative login credentials to my new email address, but Blogger doesn't believe me.  Let's just say it's hard to survive a hacking.

Sunday, December 04, 2016

Lessons from being hacked.

  1. Criminals are smarter than I am.
  2. Criminals are more dedicated to their jobs than I am--and I'm pretty darn dedicated.
  3. Computers can be used for E-VIL as well as for good.
  4. I have very smart, computer-savvy friends.
  5. People who have been hacked temporarily lose their senses of humor.
  6. People who have been hacked stay stressed for quite a while.

Monday, November 28, 2016

I love the First Amendment (and I can still deplore hateful speech).

Of course I'm angered and saddened about the increase in hateful speech across campuses (see today's latest story here).  I don't respect the people who say such awful things.  But I respect their right to say them.  Such speech reveals their darkest instincts, and acts as an early warning sign for me ("don't get too close to this person").

Someone asked me last week if I was going to interfere with hate speech.  I don't think it's appropriate to do so.  We could act on hateful actions that threaten other people's safety.  (Don't forget, though, that some actions are protected speech.)  We can act on actions that are against the law.  But sunlight is still the best disinfectant to reveal those people whose internal thought processes demonize others in an apparent, and probably unsuccessful, attempt to improve their own self-image issues.  And I refuse to demonize those whose political views are different from mine.

I'm getting a bit tired of being told that I have no idea what it's like to be yelled at, cursed, spit on, etc.  I actually do know quite a lot about what that's like.  I grew up in deep East Texas as a Jew.  I got hit, shoved, spit on, yelled at, cursed....  So I know that such actions are horrible to experience and very, very frightening.  But I love the First Amendment (and the rest of the Bill of Rights) so much that I don't want to see it curtailed.  I am a card-carrying member of the ACLU.  I can recite parts of this speech almost from memory.  And I believe that we can provide succor to those who are hurt and frightened without sacrificing our Constitutional rights--especially the right to say stupid things.